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Becoming an authentic leader

Everywhere we look these days, there is a need for better leadership. Leaders from around the world have been caught in a cycle to unethical and ineffective leadership. Author Bill George (2003) writes, “We need new leadership. We need authentic leaders, people of the highest integrity, committed to building enduring organizations” (pg. 5). He further describes authentic leaders as leaders who demonstrate a passion for purpose, consistently practice their own values, and lead with their hearts as well as their heads. These leaders are people who are able to establish meaningful relationships with others that last a long time. In short, authentic leaders are leaders who know themselves very well.

Authentic leadership requires a commitment to developing oneself. Kouzes and Posner (2007) stated, “there’s solid evidence that the best leaders are highly attuned to what’s going on inside themselves as they are leading and to what’s going on with others. They’re very self-aware” (p 86). In order to become an authentic, leaders need to develop self awareness in order to be aware of one’s weaknesses so that improvement can be made. The route to becoming an authentic leader requires one to understand life’s purpose, practice solid values, lead with the heart, establish connected relationships, and demonstrate self-discipline. Robert K. Greenleaf (1970) discussed the need for servant leaders to develop the skills of listening and empathy in order to better establish relationships with others as well as lead with the heart.

George (2003) discusses how authentic leaders understand that their responsibilities go way beyond the bottom line success of the company. According to the author, these leaders should be working toward building a sound governing system that will develop leadership for the company for generations to come. In addition, George (2003) discusses how authentic leaders tackle public policy issues and societal concerns. The author closes the book with questioning what the reader’s unique calling is. In Greenleaf’s work on Servant Leadership, the idea of working for a higher calling is prevalent. Goleman, et al (2002) state, “leaders work under the assumption that nothing important gets done alone” (p. 51). The following tips will help you as you work toward becoming a more authentic leader.

· Develop your sense of self-awareness

· Find out your life’s passion

· Listen to others

Baggerly-Hinojosa (2010). Are You a 10? The Ten Characteristics of a Servant Leader. USA: Lulu.

George, B. (2003). Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value. USA

Greenleaf, R. (1970). The Servant Within. USA

Goleman (2002). Emotional Intelligence.

Kouzes, and Posneer (2007). Emotional Intelligence.

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